It is difficult to find an active ASX-listed stock with a market value of less than $10 million. And it is even more difficult to find a sub-$10m stock which has a 1 million oz gold resource under its belt.

That’s the situation at Golden Rim Resources (ASX:GMR), a hardy Burkina Faso gold explorer mentioned here previously on its takeover appeal to any of the big gold producers operating in the West African nation.

Golden Rim last traded at 1.6c for a market capitalisation of $7.1m. Subtract its cash of $2.4m and its enterprise value of $4.7m is about as low as can been found in the ASX gold sector.

That’s particularly so for a company with a 1m oz gold resource as Golden Rim has at its Kouri project in Burkina Faso.

While other juniors – both Aussie and African focussed – can trade at an enterprise value-to-resource oz metric of upwards of $US10 an oz, Golden Rim is back at $US3.40 an oz.

That’s despite the grade of Kouri’s resource – it is to be updated shortly – being relatively high for a West African mine at 1.5g/t gold.

Golden Rim has been looking at the potential for Kouri to support a heap-leach operation. Others in the country have had success on that front with lower grade operations.

One of those is the Canadian-owned Karma gold mine which has been producing 100,000 oz annually from a 3.5mtpa heap-leach operation that cost $US130m to develop. Despite a grade of 1.07g/t, its all-in sustaining cost of production is a robust $US834 an oz.

Golden Rim has got a long way to go before it can start thinking about becoming a gold producer, as its current low market rating clearly indicates.

But to its credit, the company has not been sitting around crying into its beer over the apparent lack of love for its West African adventure.

It has just set out to make its value proposition even more compelling by launching itself into a drilling program at Kouri under a drill-for-equity agreement it has with ASX-listed Ausdrill, already a 6.5% shareholder.

Golden Rim managing director Craig Mackay said earlier this week that recent exploration had identified a “number of exciting new target areas such as Red Hill, Guitorga West and a new broad zone of gold mineralisation that lies immediately outside our 1m oz resource.”

Previous work at Red Hill, 4.5km to the southwest of the known 1m oz resource, got the market’s interest up because a 1.3km by 150m gold anomaly associated with various several magnetic high anomalies was outlined.

Perth broker Hartleys has raised funding in the past for Golden Rim and it initiated coverage of the stock on September 17. Its “highly speculative” 12-month price target on the stock was 4.1c a share.

“In order to reward shareholders for the higher risk of operating in West Africa, Golden Rim needs to define either a large deposit (2m oz plus) or a relatively high-grade deposit (2g/t plus in an open cut),” Hartleys said in the September note.

“Golden Rim has the potential to achieve one if not both, given that the current resource is 1m oz grading 1.5g/t with numerous lodes yet to be included in the resource.”

That’s what the latest drilling program is all about.

Included in Hartleys’ valuation was a nominal $1m (0.2c a share) for another Golden Rim asset – the Paguanta zinc-silver-lead project in northern Chile. Golden Rim and others have spent $US35m on the historic operation over the years; now Golden Rim is angling to complete a “corporate transaction” to deliver some value from the asset.